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July, 2019

Books by the Hundreds:
Multiple Book Series Testify to CUA Scholarly Output

By Richard Wilkinson

The complete stack of the books mentioned in this article would be nearly 10 times this tall.

In academia, the rule is publish or perish. But at Catholic University the nostrum could be publish and flourish. That’s because some CUA faculty don’t just write individual books, they also edit and publish series of books on particular scholarly topics. The different series not only provide ongoing contributions to scholarship, they also build depth in the world’s understanding of particular areas and help establish CUA as a center of excellence in those areas, according to CUA faculty.

The Catholic University of America Press, for example, publishes two series of books on the history of medieval and early modern canon law (i.e., the ecclesiastical law of the Catholic Church). “Those series signal to European scholars and others around the world that Catholic University is a place to publish their research,” says CUA Professor Kenneth Pennington, the editor of the two book series. “Instead of publishing their scholarship abroad, European and American scholars thus choose to publish their books as part of one of these series.”

Following are 13 of the ongoing series of books published, edited or written at CUA:

Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series
These books are published by the Catholic Biblical Association, which is based at Catholic University. The 43 books of biblical scholarship published so far constitute one of the best theological book series available, according to Rev. Joseph Jensen, O.S.B., executive secretary of the association and a CUA professor of theology and religious studies. Leading biblical scholars around the country help the association decide which manuscripts to publish. Although the books are up to 300 pages long, the association makes a concerted effort to keep them reasonably priced and quite a few sell for less than $10. A few hundred libraries and individuals have standing orders to purchase every book in the series.

Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change Series
Each year, 20 new books by scholars from around the world are edited and published by Rev. George F. McLean, O.M.I., professor emeritus of philosophy, under the auspices of CUA’s Center for the Study of Culture and Values. More than 200 titles have been published to date. Each book addresses the cultural/religious heritage of a particular part of the world and the role that heritage could play in building the future of a given country or countries. Research teams from the regions in question write most books; some of the books arise from seminars held annually at CUA or at conferences of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy held abroad. The center also publishes the papers of major world forums such as China’s Peking Forum and the Russian World Public Forum. In addition to selling the books through and other book distributors, the center strategically donates copies to 350 university libraries around the globe, particularly in the developing world, so that anyone doing advanced research there has access to this library of research on culture and values. The books are available in full text at

Duns Scotus Project
Professor of Philosophy Timothy Noone edits this series of critical editions of the Latin texts of 13th-century European theologian/philosopher John Duns Scotus. A Franciscan priest, Scotus was one of the most influential thinkers of the Middle Ages. His writings and those of St. Thomas Aquinas were seminal in differentiating theology from philosophy and science, says Noone. Scotus was also one of the earliest defenders of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Creating critical editions of medieval books is an extremely time-consuming process, involving word-by-word comparison of all the early manuscript versions of a given text, writing footnotes on every variation in wording in those manuscripts, adding footnotes that explain the author’s meaning and context, and doing meticulous analysis to determine which manuscripts best preserve the author’s original wording. Determining Scotus’ original wording may lead to a need to re-examine the exact import of Scotus’ philosophical doctrines, says Noone. The CUA professor’s work on the series has been funded by National Endowment for the Humanities grants totaling more than a million dollars. Thus far, Noone has completed the five volumes of Duns Scotus’ philosophical works, and is beginning to edit the 10-plus volumes of the theological lectures that Duns Scotus delivered at the University of Paris. The CUA Press distributes the five volumes finished so far and co-published the most recent volume with the Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University.

The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation
CUA Press publishes this extensive series, now comprising more than 100 books by the Christian writers of the first through sixth centuries. Translated into English for this series, the authors include such Fathers of the Church as Augustine, Jerome and John Chrysostom. “I don’t know of any other series of translations of Church Fathers that is as extensive,” says David McGonagle, director of the press. Translations of eight theological works written during the Middle Ages have been published in a medieval continuation of this series.

History of Medieval Canon Law
Kenneth Pennington, a CUA professor of three disciplines — law, canon law and religious studies — is the co-editor of this CUA Press series. These reference works on the history of ecclesiastical law during the 12th through 16th centuries are the only book series of its kind published in English, says Pennington. Canon law, along with ancient Roman law, was the system of jurisprudence that most influenced European secular law and American and English common law, explains the professor. Thus the importance of canon law is not just for law in the Church, but for its broad influence on the law of the Western world. Two books have been published in the series thus far, and Pennington co-wrote a third which will be published this month. A $250,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities allowed Pennington to gather European and North American scholars for multiple meetings to plan the series. Wilfried Hartmann, professor of medieval history at Germany’s University of Tübingen, is the co-editor of the series, which is designed to provide a general history of canon law, in contrast to the more focused investigations in CUA’s book series called Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Canon Law (described later in this article).

The Independent Works of William Tyndale
Sister Anne O’Donnell, S.N.D., professor emerita of English, edits this ongoing series of critical editions of the books of English Reformer William Tyndale (1494–1536), who is famous for having done the English translation incorporated in the King James Version of the Bible. Sister O’Donnell’s and Rev. Jared Wicks’ co-edited edition of Tyndale’s An Answer Unto Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue “is by far the most distinguished single editorial work in Tyndale studies, and is a model for future work,” says Professor Brian Cummings, director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. The Catholic Thomas More (1478–1535) and the Protestant Tyndale were bitter opponents, and both were martyred for their respective faiths. Says Professor David C. Steinmetz of Duke Divinity School, “I suppose it is only just that Catholic University will edit the works of a Protestant martyr, since Yale, a formerly Puritan university, had edited the works of [St. Thomas More], a Catholic martyr.” Published by the CUA Press, each of the projected four volumes will include notation of textual changes in 16th-century editions of the book, explanatory footnotes, a glossary and indices.

Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Mathematics
CUA history Professor Ronald Calinger edits this series of history books for the Johns Hopkins University Press. The press is “arguably the only publisher with a planned list of books on the history of mathematics and thus has a commitment to this discipline that exceeds those of the presses of Princeton, Cambridge or Oxford,” says the CUA professor. Calinger solicits book manuscripts from scholars, suggests reviewers to evaluate manuscripts received, helps refine the form of accepted manuscripts and advises the press on important and emerging trends. The series’ first book was Daniel Cohen’s Equations From God, which is about the motivations for algebra in Victorian England, published in April of 2007. The second book is a biography of the greatest 18th-century female mathematician, the Italian Maria Agnesi, which not only examines her mathematical research but also sets the history against the background of the Catholic Enlightenment. One of the books soon to be published is a study of mathematics teaching in the United States from 1800 to 2000, dealing especially with the tools used — from the blackboard to the graphing calculator. The series is distinctive in seeking to provide culture and context in the history of mathematics, according to Calinger
. Its goal is thereby to transform and shape the history of mathematics, so that it is no longer restricted to the narrow genre of intellectual history .

Library of Early Christianity
This series of early Christian texts features side-by-side presentation of the original language and English translation. Debuting in 2007, the series is published by CUA Press and overseen by Associate Professor of Greek and Latin John Petruccione. “It is our hope that, with substantial investment in research support, the Library of Early Christianity will become the leading series in the English-speaking world for early Christian texts written in Latin, Greek, Arabic, Syriac, Coptic and other languages,” says the professor. The series aims to do for the early Christian writers what Harvard’s Loeb Classical Library has done for pagan Greek and Latin writers such as Cicero, Virgil and Homer. Each book includes a fresh translation of a particular work, an edited and improved version of the original-language text, and an introduction and footnotes that will aid readers in comprehending the context and meaning of the work. Petruccione edited the first book in the series, a 5th-century Greek commentary on the first eight books of the Old Testament written by the theologian and bishop Theodoret, who lived in what is now Syria. The series is supported in part by an endowment funded by a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

New Catholic Encyclopedia
The 15-volume 2002 edition of this encyclopedia was edited by Rev. Berard L. Marthaler, O.F.M. Conv., a CUA professor emeritus of theology and religious studies. The original edition of the encyclopedia, published in 1967, was also edited at CUA, and was cited by Library Journal as one of the top 50 reference sources of the millennium. It is the most comprehensive Catholic encyclopedia written in English, says Father Marthaler. Its 12,500 entries report on the movements, individuals and interests that have shaped Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular over two millennia. Although the encyclopedia has been published by the reference publisher Thomson Gale since 2002, CUA is still in charge of the work’s ongoing updating and editing. Thousands of copies of the current edition have been sold. An online version is also sold to institutional users, and can be perused by CUA faculty, staff and students by going to the university Web site, clicking on “Libraries” and consulting “Databases N–Z” under the “Find Databases” dropdown heading.

Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Canon Law
Professor Kenneth Pennington is the editor of this series, published by the CUA Press. There is no other series like it in the English-speaking world, according to both Pennington and CUA Press Director David McGonagle. The series allows scholars to publish in-depth studies on particular aspects of canonical jurisprudence. Its books range from a monograph on an important medieval jurist to broader explorations into topics such as the status of women religious in canon law.  Six books have been published so far, and a seventh will come out in June.

Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy
Jude Dougherty, dean emeritus of CUA’s School of Philosophy, edits this series of books — 50 volumes so far — and CUA Press is the publisher. The series was initially designed to disseminate research produced by CUA’s philosophy faculty. It does that, but it also publishes collections of essays by distinguished North American scholars and volumes of essays from the School of Philosophy’s annual lecture series. Scholars on both sides of the Atlantic regard it as a prestigious series, according to Dougherty.

Thomas Aquinas in Translation
CUA Associate Professor of Philosophy Kevin White is the editorial director of this series of works by the renowned 13th century doctor of the Church that haven't previously been available in English translation. The CUA Press produces the books, and White has done the English translation of a commentary by Aquinas included in one of the three volumes that have been published so far.

Works of Christopher Dawson
CUA Press publishes several books by this seminal 20th-century thinker, who is important for an understanding of the Western cultural tradition, especially where it concerns Christianity, says press director McGonagle. An Englishman and Catholic, Christopher Dawson (1889–1970) was a leading historian of culture who maintained in his books that Europe must return to the Christian culture that formed it if the continent hopes to survive as a cultural entity. CUA Press has reprinted three of Dawson’s books with new introductions, and at least three more — The Crisis of Western Education, Understanding Europe and Enquiries Into Religion and Culture — are scheduled to be published in coming years.


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Last Revised 29-Apr-08 12:23 PM.